Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Yesterday morning I awakened, wobbled out of bed at  5:00 am to let the dogs out in 18 degree South Texas weather, let them back in and then returned to curl up with my laptop to see what I could see.

What I saw was this photograph of a dog whose eyes captured and opened something inside of me that would not let go. She had only a few hours left to live and then she would be euthanized.  I tried to ignore it and kept on scrolling down and then something drew me back to the photograph on facebook. I would look at her and her eyes were pleading.  Pleading for help, for affection, for freedom, for life.

I shared the photo knowing quite well that most likely nobody wanted to see or look at the photo of a dog about to die, much less do anything about it.  Only one share came in and that was from Scotland!  I decided I had best stop looking at it and go take a shower.  In the shower, I burst into tears, for her eyes would not leave me ~ this dog with no name ~ with no home and destined to die in a few hours.

I dressed and the project began.  I would not let her die, if I had to drive 5 1/2 hours to Odessa, TX and get her myself before 2:00 pm.  A few texts, emails, and phone calls that took hours ended up with Holly from an organization that camps out at ODESSA ANIMAL CONTROL, an 85 % KILL SHELTER and tries to save dogs lives.  Then a call to a Train a Dog Save a Warrior trainer close to Abilene.  Decision made.  Gary, the trainer and war veteran, instructed Holly how to evaluate the dog for viability into the service dog world.  Reluctantly, the Animal Control officer unpadlocked the cage door where the dog awaited certain death and complied with the request.

They took her out and all of the evaluation tests were done.  She developed instant eye contact, soft eyes, loving eyes, pleading eyes.  A stainless steal dish was tossed onto a concrete floor to see her response and reaction.  Unfettered, she walked over to the dish, picked it up and returned it to Holly.
The rest of the test was as perfect.  She was snugly, kind, gentle, eager, focused, non aggressive and the myriad of other qualities looked for in a dog, whether a working therapy dog, service dog, or pet dog. 

I was then called and gave my permission for her 'freedom.'  Holly was to take her to a veterinarian to have her vaccinations and heartworm check and board her overnight, until Gary, the trainer, could make arrangements to pick her up and deliver her to Abilene and beyond to her warrior, a female with multiple health issues...that needed a large dog to help stabilize her with her debilitating physical problems and become her very best friend. 
When Holly put this dog with no name into her car she was a bit reluctant because she had multiple other rescues in the car and was not sure how this big girl would react.  But no fear, she jumped into the car in freezing temperatures, took a look at the other dogs, and then just laid down and went to sleep.  Freedom Ride about to begin!!!

I was called instantly by Holly who rescued her and told she was free and on her way to the vet's office to spend the night and be checked out.  Once again I burst into tears. 

Sometimes you just have to save something.  Sometimes you have to take that one step and go out on a limb and pray.  Pray you can do it...pray for the right help to come along...pray that just one life will be saved because you did something! Because you cared and didn't turn away!!

Choking back tears, I  told Holly on the phone that my only request was that I pay her vet and boarding bills and whatever was needed.  And additionally and most importantly to me, I required that she be named Penny, after my beloved angel Penny, my golden retriever who changed many lives, won many awards as a therapy dog, had a book written about her, a foundation (Penny's From Heaven Foundation) founded in her honor, and was Companion Animal of the Year in the state of Texas.  It was in her memory and her honor that this one rescue, out of thousands this day that would not be rescued, would be named Penny. And perhaps truth be told, two lives will be saved...Penny and the warrior who she will rescue!

Upon arrival at the vet's office, Penny jumped up on the counter to greet the staff and say hello. This dog that 15 minutes earlier would have been killed...for no reason other than nobody wanted her. 

I will not challenge you with the statistics of how many dogs die EVERY hour because nobody wants them...for numerous ridiculous reasons and are taken to animal control facilities nationwide to be killed.  It is by the heartbreaking work of hundreds of volunteers that a handful can be saved and rescued and loved dearly for the rest of their lives.

In honor of this dog, Penny, and all the dogs that will die today, I ask you to do what you can on a local level. And to sign this petition below.  It will only take a moment and will make a difference.

 Thanks for signing our petition, "City of Odessa Animal Control Shelter: Improve Conditions at the Shelter for the Welfare of the Animals in City Custody."

Can you help this petition win by asking your friends to sign too? It's easy to share with your friends on Facebook -
just click here to share the petition on Facebook.

There's also a sample email below that you can forward to your friends.

Thanks again -- together we're making change happen,

Concerned Citizens for Change at Odessa Animal Control (CCCOAC)


Note to forward to your friends:


I just signed the petition "City of Odessa Animal Control Shelter: Improve Conditions at the Shelter for the Welfare of the Animals in City Custody" on Change.org.

It's important. Will you sign it too? Here's the link:

God bless you Penny on your journey.  God bless you.


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